(NEW YORK) MintPress – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…..comes “Occu-pirates,” a band of Occupy Wall Street protesters who are now staging drum-filled demonstrations on a sailboat on the Hudson River. This comes as a growing number of reports are predicting that the end is near for the Occupy movement. “Lately, many General Assemblies sometimes border on something closely resembling a public support group,” wrote Occupy member Ben Vitelli on Occupy Baton Rouge’s website. “On the Internet, vaguely self-congratulatory Paul Krugman-y articles, applauding Occupy for ‘at least shifting the public dialogue,’ are posted and reposted to different Occupy-related Facebook groups to remind each other that Occupy at least had a little bit of an effect.” Indeed, Occupy Wall Street’s approval among the public has dropped since last fall. The last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on the movement in April showed that 25 percent of Americans had a positive view of Occupy Wall Street, while 37 percent had a negative view, numbers that put Occupy roughly on par with the tea party (27 percent positive/38 percent negative). There is also a perennial problem with funding, and there are growing rifts among some of the organizers. Still Tom Fox, a member of Occupy since it began in September 2011, turned his 30-foot boat into a mobile protesting unit and says he is determined to “let people know Occupy Wall Street is still around.” The “Druid,” which is adorned with two American flags and a large yellow banner with large black letters reading “Occupy Wall Street,” is docked at a boat basin on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “They can’t kick us out of the water,” he says, referring to the NYPD’s evacuation of the Occupy camp at Zuccotti Park last November. Fox has received an angry phone call and e-mail from the New York Parks Department ordering him to stop the protests, but he spent Tuesday night on the boat and says he has no intention of doing so. He maintains that he cleared his boat and its activity with the Coast Guard, and is now encouraging other protesters to organize a fleet of Occu-pirate vessels and join his group along the waterways around New York City this summer.
Occupy congressional candidate
Fox and his followers are not the only Occupy protesters hoping to make a splash. Brooklyn resident George Martinez, a self-proclaimed “Occupy candidate,” is running for New York’s newly drawn 7th Congressional District. “You can’t kill an idea,” he said about Occupy Wall Street. Martinez, the former District Leader for the 51st Assembly District and an adjunct professor in political science at Pace University, says his campaign may not have a lot of money but he does have passion, popular appeal and activist experience. He is running against longtime Rep. Nydia Velazquez, as well as two other candidates, on the Democratic primary ballot this month. Martinez unveiled his latest promotion in May: a music video called “Occupy 2.0 All Streets, Bum Rush the Vote.” “My goal is to empower a movement of people that will take this action and use it to take over New York City in the next year,” he asserts. Martinez also wants an Occupy-inspired mayor and City Council. “A movement like this is going to hit every level,” he says. “We can’t neglect the formal institutions that would otherwise repress us.”
Meanwhile, Occupy movements around the country are gearing up for the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia from June 30 through July 4. “The Occupy Movement is based in the idea that if communities come together across traditional dividing lines then we can work together in a safe space to envision a more just and equitable society,” wrote the organizers on their website. “Through conversation and facilitation we are inviting the entire country to come and have their voice heard. Together, with all those who choose to participate, we will craft a Vision of a Democratic Future.”